Culture

Binscarth to Wasdale: Foraging The Old Road

Megan Taylor (Wild Orkney Walks) took us on a delightful virtual walk from Finstown up to Loch Wasdale as part of the Orkney Foraging Fortnight.

Binscarth Woods Autumn Bell

The walk is part of the St Magnus Way – a pilgrimage route which contains many different walks and at different levels of difficulty.

Binscarth Woods Autumn St Magnus Way credit: Bell

Along the way Megan told us of the plants encountered. There was additional commentary and a later Q & A from Anna Canning and Szymon Szysiczakiewicz.

Elderflowers

Credit: Rosie Hopkins

Elderflower, and the berries, can be used for many things – including wine and champagne.

In Binscarth Woods Megan described, the many birds which visit and live in the woods and plants such as:

Purslane

Binscarth Woods Autumn purslane credit: Bell

Dead Man’s Fingers, nettles and hawthorn

Nettles have many uses – soup, pesto and they are great for supporting wildlife, giving cover to birds and flowers for insects.

There’s a long tradition of using hawthorn berries and the plant itself is associated with myth and folklore.

Megan also told us of finding wild raspberries in Binscarth Woods, angelica, sorrel, yarrow and pineapple weed.

Reaching Loch Wasdale we learned about the any birds like redshank which can be found there. And the plants such as meadowsweet, sneezewort,red clover, self heal, eyebright and yellow rattle.

self heal credit Bell

And of course the many uses of dandelion – everything but their stalk (although that can be used as a tooter)

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We were also reminded that foraging was something humans and other animals have always done. Szymon added that a good idea is going out and observing plants all your round. And to feel comfortable in the natural environment.

The virtual walk was part of the LEADER funded Orkney’s Foraging Fortnight and enabled by Orkney International Science Festival who hosted the event on their YouTube channel.

You can view it here.

Wasdale Loch in winter Credit B Bell

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